Dinky vs. the Moon

by Dubs Rewatcher

Chapter 1: Dinky vs. the Moon

After forty long minutes of struggle and hardship, of sweat and tears, and of at least one sunburn, Dinky Hooves had taken her rightful place as Queen of the Universe. The filly stood atop her castle, gazing down at her creation with a wicked smirk. It stretched into the horizon, its massive towers shimmering in the daylight. She could fit everypony in Ponyville in this castle! And she hadn’t even installed the jacuzzi yet.

She had conquered the elements, bent them to her will—truly, she was the ultimate being. None could stand in her way. All would bow before her.

“Oh, Dinky!” Muffins called from the beach below. She shaded her eyes with a wing to look up at her daughter. “Could you come here? Mommy needs to reapply your sunscreen.”

“Ugh, Mom!” Dinky said, resisting the urge to stomp her hooves and destroy her sand castle. “I just put on sunscreen, like, five minutes ago. Why do I gotta do it again?”

“Because I said so. And you wouldn’t want to break out in a rash like last time, would you?”

A thin blush passed over Dinky’s cheeks. Pouting, the filly maneuvered down the tall spires of her palace, taking care not to knock anything out of place and ruin her hard work. When she reached the ground, she tugged on a twig and lowered the castle’s drawbridge.

“Your Queen will be right back,” she said to her snail butler—her snutler. “I want the jacuzzi done by the time I return!”

Her snutler didn’t answer.

Dinky stepped across her drawbridge and allowed Muffins to pull her into a quick hug—but squirmed when the pegasus smooshed a glob of sunscreen onto her face.

“Wow,” Muffins said, one lazy eye rolling over to see the sand castle. “You really put a lot of work into this, didn’t you? It’s beautiful!”

Dinky turned up her nose. “Yep! And you said that those architecture books that Aunty Carrot Top got me were boring.”

You said that, sweetie.” Muffins booped Dinky’s nose, making the filly scrunch up her muzzle. “I was the one who made you write a thank you letter.”

“Oh, right. Huh.” Dinky blinked a few times, then grinned. “Can you take a picture of it? I wanna send it in to the Foal Free Press. My friend Sunny Daze says they pay, like, a million bits for cool photos!”

“Didn’t Sunny Daze also say she saw Bighoof using her shower?” Muffins asked. “And that he had three eyes and a pair of wings?”

“Yeah, so?”

Muffins shook her head. “No reason. But I’m afraid I left my camera at home, sweetie.”

Dinky’s ears drooped—but only for a moment before perking back up again. “That’s okay. We can just come back tomorrow!”

“We could, but your sand castle isn’t going to be here tomorrow.”

“What?” Dinky asked. She backed up a few steps, moving closer to her palace. “What do you mean? Who’s gonna get rid of it?”

“The tide!” Muffins gestured to the encroaching ocean, its waves already lapping at the base of Dinky’s castle. “Every day the tide comes in and out, and washes away everything on the beach. That’s why you don’t see everypony’s hoofprints, or any other sandcastles. The ocean comes and takes them away.”

A chill spidered down Dinky’s spine. She shot a wide-eyed look at the ocean. The endless expanse of blue-green water seemed to glare right back. In that moment, Dinky could feel its hunger; she saw its bottomless stomach, ready to devour anything in its path, no matter how amazingly awesome it was.

“But I don’t want it to eat my castle!” Dinky said, shaking her head. “I want my castle to be here forever and ever, so I can look at it and show it to all my friends and get rich selling photos of it. I don’t want it to go!”

Dinky sniffled, and within seconds a familiar wing wrapped around her barrel. “It’s okay, sweetie,” Muffins said, nuzzling her daughter. “This is just how nature works. We’ll come back another day, and you can build a new sand castle.” She gave Dinky one last kiss on the cheek, and retreated to their towel a few yards away.

Dinky watched with clenched teeth as the sea began to nibble away at her palace, at her kingdom. This had to be some sort of bad joke; how could her mommy, the greatest mare in the entire world, possibly stand for this sort of injustice? How could anypony? How had nopony stopped the tides yet?

A fire sparked in the filly’s chest. She dug her hooves into the sand and leveled a deadly glower at the ocean.

If nopony else is gonna save these sand castles, she thought, then maybe I will.

She took a step forward—only to flinch as pain jolted through her flanks. “Ow!” she yipped, sprinting over to Muffins. “Mommy, sunburn! Sunburn!”

A few days later, Cheerilee sat alone in her classroom. She had just sent the foals out for recess, which meant it was time for her least favorite part of the day: grading spelling tests and mourning the death of the Equuish language. She took a deep breath and pulled out a tub of red ink. The first in the pile was Featherweight, who insisted on spelling ‘tragedy’ as ‘tragiedgie.’ Cheerilee held down a sob.

“Miss Cheerilee?”

Cheerilee looked up to find Dinky standing in the doorway, a small sheet of paper floating in her magical grasp. Cheerilee wiped away the tears and offered her a smile. “What is it, Dinky?”

Dinky trotted into the room and laid the paper on Cheerilee’s desk. “Could you sign my petition?” she asked with wide, innocent eyes. “I’ve been trying to get signatures all day, but nopony wants to help.”

“Of course,” Cheerilee said. How anypony could ever say no to a filly as cute as this was beyond her. Cheerilee flipped over the paper and picked up her quill—but her smile soon faded. She furrowed her brows. “Ah, Dinky… what exactly is this petition for?”

“I want to stop the tides from happening,” Dinky explained. She ground her teeth. “The ocean is using them to wage war on innocent sand castles everywhere! They need to be stopped. I just need to know that when I go into battle, I’ll have friends by my side.”

Cheerilee read over the petition, which contained a surprising amount of death threats for such a small filly. “And how exactly do you suggest we stop the tides?”

“When the tides try to come in, we all jump in, grab the water, and pull it back!”

“Right,” Cheerilee said with a nod. “Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s how it works. Ponies can’t control the tides.”

“What?” Dinky gaped. “But ponies control everything!”

The words ‘racial sensitivity training’ flashed before Cheerilee’s eyes. With a shaky smile, she reached down to grab Dinky’s shoulder and said, “That’s not true! There are lots of things ponies don’t control. Like, uh… milk! Cows control milk. And the magic of friendship. Nopony controls friendship.”

“Isn’t Twilight the Princess of Friendship?”

Cheerilee looked away. “Well, yes, but—”

“If ponies don’t control the tides, then who does?” Dinky asked.

“The moon!” Cheerilee said. “Sea levels rise and fall based on the gravitational push and pull of the moon.”

“Really?” Dinky tapped her chin. “So what you’re saying is that it isn’t the tides I need to stop... it’s the moon!”

“No, not exactly,” Cheerilee said with a wince. “Here—we haven’t gone over it in class, but we must have a book on it in the Class Library!”

Both ponies turned to look at the Class Library. It held a few shredded nature magazines, a clump of dust bunnies, and an eighty year old theoretical physics textbook, all rocking ever so gently in the breeze. As they watched, the textbook fell over and a colony of spiders scurried out.

Cheerilee blinked a few times. “Um. Well, I’m sure Princess Twilight must have a book on it!”

Dinky nodded. “Yeah. Maybe she can teach me how to destroy the moon!”

“What? Dinky, you can’t—”

“Thanks, Miss Cheerilee!” Dinky said. She sprinted out of the room. “You’re the best teacher ever!”

Cheerilee grinned at the compliment, despite the nausea suddenly causing her stomach to lurch. She scanned Dinky’s petition again and cringed. ‘Destroy’ was most certainly not spelled ‘distroie.’

Across town, Twilight Sparkle was trying not to explode. “I swear,” she growled, pulling a tall book out of a shelf, “if a certain dragon comes in here and puts Advanced Teleportation, Volume Two in the Advanced Magic section and not the Slightly Outdated but Still Somewhat Usable Advanced Magic section one more time, I’m gonna—”

“Twi?” Spike called from the floor below. He jabbed a claw at the filly standing next to him. “You’ve got a visitor.”

Twilight finished rearranging the shelves and put on a smile. “Be right there, Spike!” Resisting the urge to grumble, she descended to the floor of her library. “Yes? How can I help—uh.”

Dinky adjusted the fishbowl around her head. “Can you take me to the moon, so I can stab it and make it dead?” She thrashed her head about, and a jagged spork tumbled from her mane and out of the fishbowl. She picked it up and thrust it into the air menacingly.

“No.” Twilight shook her head. “No, I can’t.”

“Aww,” Dinky said, falling to her rump. She crossed her forelegs and huffed. “Now I’m never gonna save my sand castles.”

Twilight blinked a few times, then sat down next to Dinky and draped a wing over her back. “Mind telling me what’s going on?”

The two sat side-by-side as Dinky explained her dilemma. Twilight listened with open ears and an aching heart; she too knew the agony of losing a sand castle to the ocean. As a foal, she had learned quickly that putting passion into your sand castle only led to pain and suffering. She had learned that the ocean was nothing but pain and suffering. That was why she never went to the beach anymore. Also she could never find a swimsuit that didn’t make her flanks look fat.

“What am I supposed to do?” Dinky asked, hanging her head. “I just want the ocean to stop being so mean!”

Twilight pulled her closer. “I’m not sure that stabbing the moon is gonna do anything. But there is a pony that controls the moon, you know: Princess Luna.”

“I knew I was right about ponies controlling everything,” Dinky said, grinning. She jumped to her hooves. “So I should stab Princess Luna?”

“No!” Twilight said, recoiling. “No, no. Do not stab Princess Luna.”

“Oh. What then?”

“I’m saying that if you want to change something about the moon, or about the tides, you should take it up with Luna.” Twilight walked over to a desk and grabbed a scroll. “If you’d like, I could arrange an audience with her. She’s rather busy, so it’d probably take a few days for her to get back, but—”

“A few days?” Dinky repeated, eyes bugging out. “That’s way too long! Do you know how many sand castles are gonna die while we wait? Like, at least a hundred.” She sprinted up to Twilight, close enough that the alicorn scrambled back in surprise. “Just tell me where she lives, and I’ll get to her.”

Twilight rubbed the back of her neck. “Well, she lives in Canterlot Castle, but I don’t think that—”

Dinky ran out of the room.

Throwing out a hoof, Twilight tried to tell Dinky to stop, but the filly was gone before she could even muster a syllable. Rolling her eyes, she walked back to her bookshelf. At least she forgot her spork, Twilight thought, glancing at the scrap of plastic on the floor.

“Oops,” Dinky said, rocketing back into the room. She grabbed the spork and ran back out. “Almost forgot this!”

Twilight sighed.

Princess Luna narrowed her eyes. “Pinkie Pie,” she said, “I believe you have, as they say, a problem.”

Sitting in the maw of a massive mushy monster, Pinkie Pie frowned. “What do you mean? I feel fine!”

“I have been watching your dreams for five years now,” Luna explained. She shook her hoof and flicked away a glob of pudding. “And every single night you dream of being eaten by a monster made of tapioca pudding. It is both intriguing and terrifying at the same time.”

Pinkie giggled. “Yeah, but tapioca pudding is awesome, and—” Her voice disappeared as the tapioca monster snapped its jaws shut.

Luna massaged her temples, then lit her horn to escape into another dream.

But when Luna opened her eyes, it wasn’t any sort of nightmare she found herself staring at. Rather, she arrived in her bed, face-to-face with a tiny lavender filly. The filly was sitting on Luna’s stomach and smiling.

A silent moment passed. Luna glanced around the room a few times before trying, “Hello?”

“Hi!” the filly chirped, waving. “My name’s Dinky. Are you Princess Luna?”

Luna lidded her eyes. “Nay. I am Princess Cadance.”

“Really?” Dinky asked with a start. “I always thought Cadance was the skinny princess.”

Cheeks going red, Luna scowled. “Yes, I am Princess Luna. How did you get here?”

“I took the train from Ponyville!” Dinky said. “It took all my allowance, and I had to say that I was actually thirty-six, but they let me on.”

“No, no, how are you here?” Luna asked. “In my bedroom? On the sixtieth floor?”

“Your window was open.”

“That’s not… oh, nevermind!” Luna wriggled around under the covers to sit up a bit straighter. “Little one, could you please step off my bed? I believe you are standing on my kidneys.”

“Not until you help me,” Dinky said, leaning forward and digging her hooves deeper into Luna’s kidneys. As Luna groaned, Dinky pointed at the balcony and said, “I need you to tell the moon to stop being mean, and to stop making the tides happen.”

“I’m afraid I cannot do that,” Luna said. “To stop the tides, I would have to completely change the path of the moon, and Goddess knows what kind of effect that could have. The whole of Equestria could be destroyed! We must be careful in how we change nature.” Luna grabbed the teddy bear next to her pillow and laid back down. “Now, please, close the window on your way out. I do not need the newspapers asking why I have fillies crawling into my room at night.”

Dinky snorted. “If you can’t change the moon, can you at least get rid of the ocean?”

Luna didn’t open her eyes. “Get rid of the ocean?”

“Yeah, like, move it somewhere,” Dinky said. “Diamond Tiara has a really big pool that she never uses. And I bet there’s loads of ponies in the desert that need water!”

“No.” Luna pulled her sheets over her head. “I think we will keep the oceans exactly where they are.”

Luna turned over, forcing the filly to wobble and eventually fall off her gut. Curling up under the covers, Luna held her teddy bear close and prepared to enter another dream—hopefully one with less tapioca pudding.

“Hey!” Dinky shouted. Luna shot the filly a groggy-eyed glare, only to find a plastic spork being held to her throat. The filly bared her teeth and said, “If the tides don’t go away, I’m gonna stab you and make you dead! Forever!”

“Oh, really?” Luna asked with a simper. “Do you really think you can harm Luna Equestris, Princess of the Night and Ruler of the Stars?”

The filly flinched away for a moment, but within seconds had put on a devilish grin. “I wasn’t talking to you.” Dinky cast a spell, and Luna’s teddy bear slipped out of the Princess’ grasp. Holding the spork to the teddy bear’s face, Dinky shouted, “Get rid of the ocean, or Little Miss Stuffing here gets it!”

“Let her go!” Luna roared, voice shaking. “If you harm Puddingpop IV, there will be tartarus to pay! I will place a pox upon your family, cursing your name for generations!”

“If it means saving the sand castles,” Dinky said, “then it’s worth it!”

“The sand castles?” Luna repeated. She sat up, forcing Dinky to her rear. “Do you mean to tell me that you wish to destroy the whole of nature merely to protect your sand castles?”

“Yeah.” Dinky tilted her head. “How did you know?”

Luna let out a soft chuckle. Then, smiling for the first time since Dinky’s arrival, she said, “You are not the first filly to worry about such matters. Many foals have dreamt of protecting their sandy creations.”

“So why won’t you help them?”

“I do help them—just not in the way you might expect.” After a moment spent focusing, Luna lit her horn, and touched its tip to Dinky’s forehead. “Here. I wish to show you something.”

Blinding orbs of energy surrounded the two—and then they were gone.

When the white light finally faded and Dinky could see again, she jumped. The duo now stood on the shores of a familiar beach. Dinky trotted in a circle around Luna, scanning the area and feeling the heat of the sand on her hooves. Sure enough, there were the surfers in the water, and the truck Mommy always bought her ice cream from.

“How did we get here?” Dinky asked. “Am I dead? Did you make me dead, Princess?”

Luna didn’t answer. Rather, she just pointed at a spot ahead of them.

Dinky followed Luna’s hoof, squinting to see in the bright light. What she saw, however, nearly caused her eyes to pop out of her head; trotting along the beach just a few yards away was Dinky. Well, another Dinky. Or maybe the same Dinky? Dinky—the one standing next to Luna—wasn’t quite sure how being dead worked yet. All she knew was that her head hurt.

But even more breathtaking than her clone was what the clone was working on: building a totally awesome sand castle. It had been a few days, so Dinky had forgotten just how super cool her palace had been. From where she sat, Dinky could see her throne room! And the palace library! And there, standing on the drawbridge: her snutler! Was her jacuzzi done being built yet?

Nopony in the world had a castle even half as amazing as hers.

Luna clapped, and a massive wave sped out from the ocean, crashing down on top of the sand castle and destroying it.

Dinky’s dinner almost made a reappearance. Face going pale, Dinky fell to her ground and screamed, “No! My kingdom!” Dinky spun around and punched Luna’s legs with shaking hooves. “Bring it back! You have to bring my sand castle back! It can’t die like this!”

“Calm yourself, little one.” Luna touched Dinky’s quivering chin with a wing. “It is alright. Nature is always moving, changing—if you can touch it, it will not last. That is merely the way of the world.”

“It’s not alright,” Dinky said, kicking the sand. “If it means they’re gonna leave, I don’t want things to change.”

“Then you will spend your life chasing the wind,” Luna said. “True peace comes when you learn to appreciate the things that do last.” Luna lit her horn again, and the white energy from before surrounded them. “Have you ever lost a pet, by chance?”

“Yeah, a whole bunch.” Dinky thought back, and the landscape around them shifted. Within seconds they stood in the filly’s bedroom, watching a much younger Dinky shaking food into a fish tank. Inside the glass, a small red fish with sharpened teeth flitted around. “When I was really little, my mom let me go get a pet from the pet store, and the stallion there sold me this really cute fish called a ‘pear-anna’ or something. Mom wouldn’t let me keep it, though.”

Luna took a sharp breath. “I see. Any others?”

The scene shifted again to a slightly older Dinky in the same bedroom. A rattlesnake was wrapped around her neck. “Then I found this awesome snake thing under a rock on the way home from school! Mom made me get rid of that one, too.”

“Okay,” Luna stammered. “Is that it?”

The scene changed once more, and this time a massive spider was crawling across the younger Dinky’s back. “And then, just a few weeks ago, I found a really cool red-and-black spider in my closet! Mom squished it, though.” Dinky sighed. “Mom doesn’t like pets very much.”

It took Luna a few long seconds to regain control of her jaw. “Despite the… lethality of your pets, I believe my point still stands. You may have lost your pets, but you still remember the happiness they brought you, no?”

“Totally,” Dinky said. “I really miss Rattler. He was so funny!”

“Although your pets have moved on, your fondness for them will not. That shall last forever.”

Luna cast a spell and the duo appeared back on the beach. The doppelgänger Dinky was still there, but she had grown much older; messy blond hair trailed down her neck, and on her flank was emblazoned a cutie mark that the real Dinky couldn’t quite make out. The older filly trotted down the beach with a grin on her face, and a familiar mare—Mommy!—by her side.

“Wow,” Dinky said, stars in her eyes. “I’m so pretty! And Mom is so old! She’s got, like, wrinkles and stuff.”

“That she does,” Luna said with a nod. “And although your bodies may have changed, your love has not. Your mother still loves you with all her heart, as do you.”

The older Dinky reared back onto her hind hooves, then sprinted forward. The duo watched as she met up with Sunny Daze, Pipsqueak—all of Dinky’s friends, now years older, grouped together at the end of the beach.

“Friendship lives forever as well.” Luna draped a wing over Dinky. “Do you understand, little one? The physical world will not last. But what lies within us shall never fade.”

“I…” Dinky gulped. Her heart and head both ached. “I think I get it. This is super weird, but I think I get it.”

“Wonderful.” Luna cast a spell, and the whole of creation appeared before them. “For understand this—it is the key to life. That is how you become one with the universe.”

Every color in existence filled Dinky’s senses. She saw all that is, was, and ever would be. The absolute infinity of the universe wrapped around Dinky’s limbs, flooding in through her eyes and ears and racing through her mind. Every moment was pain—every moment was peace. Every moment was.

And it was by this means that Dinky became enlightened.

Also, her brain exploded.

“What a lovely day!” Muffins said, a bounce in her step. She hopped onto the beach and laughed at the heat of the sand seeping into her fetlocks. Her left eye lazed backwards just far enough to catch sight of the filly following after. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

Behind her, Dinky floated on a golden cloud, her eyes closed and her nose turned up. Sparkling light shined down from the heavens, glimmering off her shaved head and perfect orange robes. Not a single trace of emotion could be found in her stoic expression. “Yes, Mother, it is beautiful—but what is beauty but a curse, leading to egotism, to selfishness?”

“Uh…” Muffins strained to focus her eyes. “False?”

Dinky floated past her mother. “This world is but an illusion.”

“Whatever you say, sweetie,” chirped Muffins. The mare laid a towel across the sand and lay down. “Why don’t you build another sand castle? I brought my camera this time, so we can save it!”

“But for how long?” Dinky took a long, shaking breath. “How long can anything truly be saved in this shifting realm? The sand castle will never last—it was never meant to. I realize that now.” Dinky turned around and floated away from the water, and away from Muffins. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go become one with that tree over there.”

“Have fun!” Muffins called. She reached into her bag and pulled out a few bits. “And here’s some money for ice cream, if you want it.”

Dinky’s eyes snapped open. “Ooh, ice cream!” she said, speeding up to Muffins and taking the money. She had barely scooped the bits onto her cloud before she stopped, cleared her throat, and turned up her nose once more. “Thank you, Mother.”

Muffins watched her daughter head off, balanced securely on top of her cloud. The cloud had caused Muffins some stress at first—she knew horror stories of pegasus foals riding them too high, only for them to evaporate beneath their hooves—but as long as Dinky kept close to the ground, she saw no harm. Even if the orange robes were a bit gaudy. With a contented sigh, Muffins stretched out her limbs and let the sun’s warmth envelop her.

She was just about to drift off to sleep when she heard Dinky’s voice behind her: “Hey, Mom! I was just about to discover true inner peace, but then I found this cute doggy—look, it’s got this weird foamy stuff all around its mouth!”

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